If you have been stopped and arrested for driving while intoxicated, your driver's license will be taken from you. You will be given a piece of paper, which serves as a temporary license. That temporary license is valid for 15 days UNLESS YOU REQUEST A HEARING. If you don't do anything your license will be suspended on the 15th day, and you will no longer be able to drive until the suspension is over.

You can request a hearing on the suspension. The hearing will happen before an administrative law judge, who will decide several issues. Those are:

  • whether there was a legitimate reason to stop
  • whether there was a reason to believe you were intoxicated
  • whether you either refused to take a breathe test or took a test and failed it

While those can be fairly easy things to prove, the burden is on DPS to do that. We have been successful in challenging the reason for the stop, and in some cases challenging whether there really was a refusal.

Requesting a hearing is fairly simple. You can either call, write or fax your request. The instructions are provided at the bottom of the temporary license you are provided. No matter which method of notification you choose, the notice must contain:

  • your full name
  • date of  birth
  • driver's license number and State
  • current mailing address
  • home and daytime telephone numbers
  • date and county of arrest
  • arresting agency
  • arresting officer
  • whether test was failed or refused

All of this information must be included, or the notice will not be considered. Generally, when there are problems with the notice it usually involves the failure to include the county of arrest and arresting agency, and whether the test was failed or refused. You don't get a chance to correct it, so make sure you include everything.

Whichever method you choose make sure you keep some proof. DPS gets hundreds of faxes, letters, and calls each day, and occasionally they miss one. There have been a few occasions when they did not receive the notice, and we had to prove it was sent.

The notice must be received within 15 days of receiving notice of suspension. That is usually the date of arrest. However, in some cases - especially where blood is drawn - your license may not be taken immediately. Instead, you will be mailed notice of the suspension after the results come back. Your time starts to run from the date you receive the notice, or it is presumed you received the notice.

If you properly and timely request a hearing, your license will not be suspended, and you can continue to drive until the hearing.

If you would like more information on DWI please download a copy of our DWI survival guide. Or if you would like to discuss your case with us, give us a call at 254-296-0020.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.